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Penny Lecture: The Silence of Solitude

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Morley College

61 Westminster Bridge Road

London

SE1 7HT

United Kingdom

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What do we think about when we’re alone? In eighteenth-century poetry, solitude became a means for poets to rise up or sink down.

About this Event

What do we think about when we’re alone? In eighteenth-century poetry, solitude became a means for poets to rise up to the heights of the universe or sink down to the depths of the grave.

This lecture will look at how solitude was often pictured as a ‘silent grove’ in these poems and how this silence provided a place where these poets could imagine the world from different vantage points and pose questions about life, death, and what happens afterwards. For these poets, poetry is a means for questioning their place within the world, where their words have the power to create, question, and destroy. This solitary silence was often seen as a space that nurtured imagination and poetic productivity, and this lecture will look at how this silence can be transcribed through poetry where poetic metre, rhymes, and rhythms are all used to emulate each poet’s path to discovery.

Though this is not all that far from home, as whilst these poets often looked to the classical vision of Arcadia as their main example of this silent grove, this lecture will also touch on how these visions of solitude were also (and can potentially still be) found in London from the hills of Hampstead to Kew Gardens.

Morley's oldest tradition dates all the way back to when we were first founded. Listen to a lecture on an interesting and unusual topic, delivered by an expert, for just a penny.

More about the Lecturer

James Morland

James Morland is a postdoctoral research fellow on the Wellcome-funded 'Pathologies of Solitude, 18th-21st Century' project at Queen Mary University of London. You can read more about the project here: https://solitudes.qmul.ac.uk/

James Morland’s research interests lie in the poetry of the long eighteenth century and its intersections with philosophy and medicine. He will be undertaking a project on solitude in relation to contemplations of life and death in various poetic contexts across the long eighteenth century, considering how both solitude and poetry provided a certain spaciousness for reflection on questions of life and death in the long eighteenth century with a specific interest in the influences of intellectual history, medicine, and philosophy and their relationship to poetic production.

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Morley College

61 Westminster Bridge Road

London

SE1 7HT

United Kingdom

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